Sunday, March 16, 2008

Kirtland’s Warbler On Your Life List To Find?

……here’s some tips to finding it when you’re in Michigan during May, June and early July

1. Go to the following Web site:

It lists answers to typical questions that Kirtland’s chasers probably need to know.

2. Consider attending the Kirtland’s Warbler Festival on May 17, 2008 at Kirtland Community College in
Roscommon, Michigan (central Michigan).


At the Festival, guided tours with expert birders not only give you access to known breeding sights, but you’ll also learn more about this species and the other birds you detect while pursuing the Kirtland’s Warbler.

3. When I was lucky enough to be an invited speaker at two recent Kirtland's Warbler Festivals, I was shown during guided tours where these birds breed.

Then I went back to these areas 20 minutes outside of Roscommon, MI on my own time and followed the rules of NOT leaving the road areas (whereby tromping through their sensitive habitat could impact this species and/or other birds/wildlife/plants). In so doing, I heard the Kirtland's singing and calling -- and even caught fleeting glimpses of both male and female individuals during the rare times they flew amidst the short Jack Pines where they occur throughout the breeding season before dispersing and/or migrating by no later than mid-summer.

Lastly, I was given the treat of seeing a male Kirtland's outside the 10 MI counties where this species typically breeds annually.

The place was OUTSIDE the usual MI breeding areas: near Traverse City along Lake Michigan. It was mid-May, 2000, and I was looking for other neotropical songbird migrants during the Prime Time window of opportunity for seeing diverse species.

Suddenly, a flash of yellow appeared at eye level from 100' away.

My jaw almost dropped as I noticed the characteristic field marks of the Kirtland's in my view finder.

It looked exactly like the photo on the cover of the "Warblers" field guide (Dunn & Garrett, Peterson Field Guide Series, 1997).

After I pinched myself to confirm that I was NOT dreaming, the rest of the day was a relaxed glowing feeling of delightful euphoria. Truly, I was the Chosen Lucky birder of the day.